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July 05, 2017 10:15 AM UTC

Don't Want Trump Reading Your Data? There's An App For That

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: Denver7’s Blair Miller reports from a press conference today in which Secretary of State Wayne Williams attempted without success to tamp down the controversy:

Uproar about the commission’s request has grown over the weekend and July 4 holiday, as handfuls of secretaries of state—including some Republicans—have publicly stood up to the request, saying it is nothing more than an effort by the administration to suppress voters…

When reporters at the news conference asked about the motives behind the commission, which was established after the president’s claims there were millions of illegal votes cast last year, Williams again stuck to the message that he was following state law and hopeful the commission was true in its statements that the motives behind the commission is to address challenges involving elections.

“Are there some on the commission who have a particular thing they are more concerned about than others? I suspect that’s probably true,” Williams said. “But again, Colorado’s response is based on the requirements of Colorado law and not the assessment of the purity of motives of anybody.”

And he stuck to his message that he’s repeated several times since then-candidate Trump claimed there was widespread voter fraud: “I will tell you all what I have said repeatedly: I have not seen the evidence in Colorado of vote fraud on the scale that has been reference in some reports, tweets, or other things.”

Williams’ response to the bigger question of whether this commission is engaging in a worthwhile investigation or a groundless witch hunt isn’t enough to satisfy those who are concerned he is legitimizing something he went out of his way to debunk last year. We’ve never disputed that this is public information, the availability of which is not itself controversial–it’s about validating the contention that voter fraud is a problem in American elections, a claim for which there is no evidence.

At the same time, we’re hearing a lot of pushback from campaign experts about encouraging voters to make their public data in the voter file confidential as detailed below. The problem with doing that is it removes voters, in this case disproportionately liberal and Democratic voters, from campaign communications of all kinds: which could affect both those voters’ knowledge of election issues and efforts to turn them out to vote. Because this data is readily available to anyone from many sources other than the Colorado Secretary of State, the small satisfaction of “denying” it to the Kobach commission is outweighed by the harm from taking one’s self out of the loop. As for the legality of using the program that allows for that just to spite Trump, be advised:

Williams also discussed the state’s confidential voter program, called the Address Confidentiality Program, which allows certain people—mainly domestic violence victims or stalking—to sign a document saying their information shouldn’t be released because doing so would be a risk to their safety. Lying on the document would make a person subject to perjury charges. Some law enforcement officers may be covered under certain circumstances, especially those working undercover.

“Colorado’s confidential voter program is based through the law, not a fiat from the secretary of state or something else,” Williams said. “It’s based on attestation from the individual, under oath, that they meet one of the criteria.”

Wouldn’t it be better if we could just not humor Donald Trump’s fantasies to begin with? Original post follows.


Secretary of State Wayne Williams (R).

An application, that is, as the Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins follows up on last week’s controversy regarding GOP Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ decision to cooperate with the Trump administration’s widely-criticized commission “investigating” the issue of vote fraud in American elections:

Williams has not pulled Colorado’s voter files yet as of July 3, according to his office. He has a July 14 deadline.

If you’re a voter in Colorado, you should know what’s already publicly available. It’s your address, the year of your birth, which party you belong to or whether you’re unaffiliated, and when and where you voted in past elections and what those elections were. (Obviously who you voted for is secret.) That’s what Williams will turn over to Trump’s voter fraud task force, which is vice-chaired by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

In Colorado, you can can keep this information confidential if you’re worried about your safety. And if you do it before Colorado pulls the voter file, Trump’s federal commission won’t get your info, according to the secretary of state’s office.

The process, laid out in state law, is set up so voters who have safety concerns about their information being public can have their personal information suppressed. It’s called a request of confidentiality, and you can make one in person with your county clerk by filling out a form and paying a nominal fee.

Again, we want to be clear that the data Williams intends to turn over to the Kobach commission is already public and not difficult to obtain by any interested party. Some states have somewhat tighter restrictions on the public release of voter data, but nothing being turned over to this commission poses any greater identity theft or other personal risk to individual voters than the vast trove of information already publicly known and traded about you. Like most states, Williams is not handing over things like whole birth dates or the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers, which could reasonably be considered personal security risks.

So what’s the problem, you ask? Simple: it’s the fact that Secretary of State Wayne Williams is cooperating with this commission at all. Williams, who last year commendably helped debunk Donald Trump’s unfounded claims of impending election fraud to deny him the presidency, should be at the front of the long line of secretaries of state from both parties who have called this whole effort out as a waste of time and resources. Instead, his public statements about this commission have been completely devoid of criticism, in marked contrast to most of his peers. Numerous “investigations” laden with our previous secretary of state’s blatant confirmation bias in Colorado have proven that this is a problem that exists only in the heads of Republican politicians who want to shore up their electoral margins.

So yes, folks, if you don’t want to be a part of it, you can go to your county clerk and fill out a form to make your voter history confidential! It’s a provision meant to protect the safety of public figures and crime victims, but also anybody else worried about harassment or their safety if this data isn’t kept confidential–and that seems to be up to you to determine. We’re not advocating people take this step necessarily, but Williams’ actions have made it timely to note for the record.

As an added bonus, you’ll apparently get a lot less political mail during election season!

Don’t tell the clerk that’s why you’re doing it.


18 thoughts on “Don’t Want Trump Reading Your Data? There’s An App For That

  1. Again: this shows that Establishment Democrats in the Librul North, and any Democrats who might have a state-wide vision (Can't name one. No, not Hick.), have approximately Zero strategic ideas to counter the extreme conservatives and reactionaries who are elected in EPC. Ignoring does not make them go away, ridiculing them only reinforces their strength. And once in state office the local yokels get national influence that harms Colorado and its citizens and (should) put the Democratic Establishment to shame.

  2. What are Democrats trying to hide? If you're right and there's no voter fraud you should not be afraid of any inquiry. The fact that you are means you are hiding something!! I am fine with investigating Mississippi Republicans to find out if Colorado Democrats are committing election fraud…

    1. Your first post after your stupid insult from last week is a gem of Moderatian logic . . . 

      . . . what a hideous, ignorant putz you are.  

      As to the issue of inquiry, I'd like you to provide evidence that you can't possibly be as stupid as you act, and that you couldn't possibly act more stupid. 

      In the meantime, how do you feel about Trump finally releasing his tax returns? You know he’s got nothing to hide, right?

      1. In the meantime, how do you feel about Trump finally releasing his tax returns? You know he’s got nothing to hide, right?  

        Yeah, Fluffy…how 'bout it? Let's hear you demand the Yams' tax returns. Oh…and the Russia investigation…nothing to hide, there…right?

        I am fine with investigating Mississippi Republicans to find out if Colorado Democrats are committing election fraud… 

        Yeah, because you are a Nazi. Why don't you ask the mostly Republican county clerks? Do you suppose they are committing election fraud?…or are they just incompetent? Which is it, oh, Fluffy One?



      2. Dio – Moldy has been busy protecting us from NPR. 

        Some Trump supporters thought NPR tweeted ‘propaganda.’ It was the Declaration of Independence.

        There — in 113 consecutive posts, in 140-character increments — was the text of the treasured founding document of the United States, from its soaring opening to its searing indictments of King George III’s “absolute tyranny” to its very last signature.

        Who could have taken issue with such a patriotic exercisedone in honor of the nation’s birthday?

        Quite a few people, it turned out.

    2. If you're right and there's no voter fraud you should not be afraid of any inquiry.

      Because a certain loud mouth whose name shall not be mentioned will take the mere existence of any type of investigation and scream that someone must be guilty. Remember Benghazi?

      Besides, didn't your buddy, Scott Gessler do a thorough enough job uncovering voter fraud? 

      If your people are so determined to investigate something, why not try to uncover the whereabouts of Senator Gardner these days.


    3. Yeah Moldy.  Who cares about personal privacy?  Certainly not Trump or partisan GOP hacks. But, hey what’s wrong with risking identity theft of a whole bunch of US citizens if we can weed out a single digit number of bad apples.

    4. I'm not afraid of an inquiry.  I don't trust those who are conducting the inquiry, and they've given us no reason to trust them.  Republicans are using this as a pretext to deny constituencies that don't typically vote for them (because Republicans quite pointedly don't like them) their right to vote.

      Actually, the right to vote is a protected constitutional right…sort of like owning guns.  I'm not sure we should even be required to register to vote.

  3. Don't bet on the "opt out" working..    

    From the SOS website:

    Q. Who can enroll in the ACP?

    A. There are three eligibility requirements:

    1. An applicant must be a survivor of actual or threatened sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking/harassment who fears for his or her safety (those who live with an enrolling survivor are enrolled as “co-applicants”).

    2. The survivor must provide evidence of victimization. There are many ways to meet this requirement. Evidence examples include: police reports, protection orders, agency documents or a letter from a professional who has provided the survivor with counseling, referral or other services. 

    3. The survivor has relocated within the past 90 days or is planning to relocate. The best time to enroll is when a survivor is planning to move to a location unknown to their abuser or has recently moved and has not yet created any public records.

    1. If one is a progressive living in the failed 51st-state, can we be considered survivors of harassment, fearing for our safety? I'm only slightly kidding. 

    1. I realize the interweb reception is fuzzy in Grammy's basement so perhaps you've missed the fact our state, the top performing economy in the nation, has been ruled by Democrats, practically in whole-cloth, for the past 13 years?

      Yeah  we're scared to death about GOTV.  What a moran.

      PS: thanks again for that vote to keep our rural hospitals open. Even a blind squirrel stumbles upon a nut every now-and-then. 

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